The worst has happened as the Cowboys have lost Dak Prescott for the season. Now the team moves forward with veteran Andy Dalton at the helm. What does it all mean for Dallas? Coach Mike McCarthy answers the media’s questions. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes).
Cowboys feel good about preparation for Dalton
Mike McCarthy noted that Andy Dalton has a lot of experience “being in the number one chair” and that he is actually more concerned with the development of rookie Ben DiNucci given that he is now the top backup. They will give DiNucci more reps this week, including some time with the ones.
Today is the day Dak’s absence hits
McCarthy noted that obviously there’s a sense of realism to his absence now but said that Dak was in the building and provided a large level of electricity to the group. He said it was great to see him and see how the players reacted to him.
Andy Dalton’s mentality
Michael Gallup commented about how Andy Dalton took control of the huddle the minute he came in and that settled the team. Coach said Dalton has experience and that he came in and showed clarity and emotion in the huddle and the words he chose affected the other players. He said it shows you what he’s about.
McCarthy being in the offense or defense room
Coach said earlier in the year he was in the offensive room more, but that last week he was more in the defensive room. This week he wants to be in both rooms and he noted there is so much a head coach has to do during the week.
Special teams issues
There were multiple moments against the New York Giants where the Cowboys had the improper number of people on the field for a special teams play. McCarthy said that they have changed the way the do their substitutions this week and that they are going to do it the way he has done it in his past career. He said it has to do with the way you communicate it to the team and who the point people are for that.
Not playing well in the first quarter
McCarthy said that there are obviously things that are not as clean as the Cowboys would like but that the major black eye on the team at the moment is the turnover ratio. He said players are working at techniques and that the evidence is there that they are trying to correct it.
Leighton Vander Esch status
Coach said that LVE is labeled as a full practice participant, and they will have to see how it goes. He noted it is important to get him back at the MIKE and kind of return the defense to what they expected to have going into the Rams game.
McCarthy noted that the Arizona offense performs at a high level in every way and that Murray is the centerpiece of that offense. He complimented Murray on being quick and explosive, and the fact he can get the ball out quick, He noted the special challenge of his running as he leads the QBs in rushing yards. He also noted the unusual stances of the offensive line and the fact they have improved their running game. But he said it’s all built to Murray’s skills.
And a final bit of levity from coach:
Would TE Blake Bell had been the Cowboys QB if Andy Dalton got hurt last Sunday?— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 15, 2020
Mike McCarthy: "Nah, I think we're just gonna go full wishbone and totally open it up. Kinda working on that. I was gonna save that for Monday night. It is a national TV game. Don't tell anybody."